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Michael Laitman, PhD

Graves of Righteous People

Q: I have a few questions concerning the graves of the Righteous: Does the Kabbalah ascribe any meaning to the graves of the Righteous? How does a prayer at the grave of a Righteous differ from a prayer in a synagogue? What should one pray for at the grave of a Righteous? If I wish to study Kabbalah at the grave of Rashbi or any other Kabbalist, what is the best thing to read?

A: A prayer is a desire for the Creator, for His sake, in one’s heart, not on one’s lips. A synagogue is an invention of the last millennia of exile, but every person speaks with the Creator in one’s heart. That is the meaning of a prayer.

Visiting a synagogue is not a prayer, it is a ritual introduced by our sages for taking care of the people, as are all other commandments, so that they could exist and not perish. From within this framework, a person starts to question one’s existence (why one does certain things, etc.), which eventually leads to the question of one’s relationship with the Creator.

Hence, it is to preserve the people, the masses, that it becomes necessary to observe the traditions and the daily rituals.

But one should differentiate between a ritual and a personal aspiration for the Creator. That is one’s personal work, and it is carried out inside, hence the name “secret.” It is concealed from others and to a certain extent even from oneself.

In the frame of this inner work of approaching the Creator, a person realizes that this goal can only be achieved by addressing Him with such a request, knowing that only the Creator can move one towards or away from Himself. This request is a prayer, regardless of where it is offered.

However, if a certain location calls to you, then go there. My advice is to search for such moments while studying. (This does not exclude “the special places,” but we’ll discuss them some other time with those who can feel the “specialty of places.”)

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